Dantewada people resist outside interference

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 08, 2010 20:00 hrs

People in the Naxal-infested district of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh no longer want outsiders to interfere in its affairs to solve the insurgency problem.

For, irked people on Wednesday evening staged a protest against social activist Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey, who had reached Dantewada to attend the public hearing convened by Vanvasi Chetana Ashram (VCA).

The Ashram, run by Himanshu Kumar, had convened the hearing on Thursday to air people's view on the reported atrocities by the security personnel in the red zone. Kumar had invited Union home minister P Chidambaram in the hearing. He, however, did not turn up.

Patkar, Pandey and other social activists from different parts of the country reached Dantewada. But they faced strong resistance from the local people, who declined to entertain outsiders in their local affairs including the Naxal menace.

The people staged protest against the social activists and demanded their immediate return from Dantewada, one the worst Naxal-infested districts of the country. The agitators alleged that the conduct of the social activists was helping the Naxalites while poor people were feeling the heat.

Sources said that the protesters tried to manhandle the activists and they threw stones and eggs. The security personnel escorted Patkar, Pandey and others to the office of District Superintendent of Police (SP), where they resorted to dharna.

The Dantewada SP, Amresh Kumar denied that the social activists were manhandled. Police took them to safety before the people got violent and escorted to my office, he said. He said there was no report of injuries to any activist.

Police suspect that the demonstrators could be the activists of Maa Danteshwari Adivasi Swabhiman Manch that the local people had formed to oppose the interference of outsiders, in their local affairs.

Last month, hundreds of Manch activists had come out on the highways and staged a protest against the Padyatra organised by the VCA. Social activists from various parts of the country had gathered for this. The VCA later cancelled the yatra.

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